If you've invested in a commercial building and you're starting your renovations, one of the things you should consider is the roofing. Many commercial buildings don't optimize natural light, resulting in dim spaces or areas full of pure artificial lighting. Recent studies have shown that employees with access to natural light at work report better quality sleep and improved general well-being. If you're looking for a way to keep your staff healthy and happier, you should talk with a commercial roofer about installing skylights. Here's a look at what you need to know to choose skylights for your building's roof.
How Is the Skylight Glazed?
Any glazing material applied to the skylight is going to affect the amount of light that transmits into the building. Here's what you should consider when you're evaluating the glazing.
- Visible Transmittance – The rating for visible transmittance tells you how much light is actually going to come through the skylight. The higher the transmittance rating, the more light you'll get.
- Haze – Every skylight is labeled with a haze factor. That factor dictates how much of the transmitted light gets diffused when it flows through the window. That diffusion is important, because it disperses the light more widely through the building. If you don't diffuse the light, you'll end up with solid beams of sunlight that cause hot spots in the building. Hot spots can not only make your staff uncomfortable, but they can increase your cooling costs and potentially damage equipment.
- Heat Gain – Another element to consider is the solar heat gain of the window. This tells you how well the window blocks the heat from the sun's rays. The lower that heat gain rating, the less heat you'll have passed through to your office space.
- Insulation Value – Often referred to as the U-factor, the thermal conductance rating of the window tells you how well it's insulated against thermal heat transfer. This protects against ambient heat from outside being transferred into your building.
Installing skylights shouldn't mean sacrificing your ability to regulate the light levels in your building. After all, it can be extremely difficult to have to adjust the dimmers on your artificial lighting every time the light outside changes. And that fluctuation in light can be problematic for employee comfort and general visibility. The easiest thing to do is to install a light control system that automatically adjusts your interior lighting as needed to compensate for the available natural light. When you're talking with your roofer about the best skylights to install based on the structure of your roof, you should also ask about what kind of light control is going to work best.
- Open Loop – An open loop light control system uses a sensor to monitor the amount of daylight in the building. It will automatically regulate how much artificial light your interior lighting puts out based on the natural lighting you already have. The sensor for this type of monitoring system is usually installed indoors facing the skylight or just outside the skylight on the roof.
- Closed Loop – Closed loop systems use sensors installed along the roof area that are directed into your office space. These systems evaluate the total combined light in the building, which will vary based on the natural light available. The sensor will then communicate with a control panel that will adjust the artificial lighting as necessary to keep the interior light levels balanced at the pre-configured level.
Natural light provides a type of lighting that you just can't replicate with artificial light bulbs. You can help your employees feel more comfortable at work when you install skylights with these considerations in mind. Before you put the skylights in, though, hire a commercial roofer to do the installation professionally. That way you can be sure that they're secure and properly sealed. Check out websites like http://www.vandoornroofing.com for more information.